Terrible Truth, The
- Publication date
- Public Domain
- Digitizing sponsor
CASE HISTORY TEENAGE GIRL'S INTRODUCTION TO USE OF NARCOTICS & PERSONAL & SOCIAL PROBLEMS THAT RESULT. BEGINNING W/OCCASIONAL MARIJUANA CIGARETTE, SHE EXPERIMENTS W/HEROIN & ACQUIRES CRIMINAL RECORD IN EFFORT TO SECURE MONEY TO SATISFY DRUG CRAVINGS.
Ken Smith sez: An old juvenile court judge named McKesson, who keeps referring to himself as "we" and "us," decides he wants to find out about drugs. The judge says this to the camera, but the words he mouths bear absolutely no relation to the words on the soundtrack. He drives to a house where he meets "Phyllis," a teenager who tells us (also out-of-synch) that when you smoke marijuana "everything speeds up to 100 miles an hour!" She meets "Chuck" (who is a "hype" and a "peddler") and starts wearing lipstick, becomes a junkie, loses her looks, goes through withdrawl (some good histrionics here) and reforms. Judge McKesson then tells us that the Russians are promoting drug traffic in the United States to "undermine national morale," and that the only way we can stop the spread of drug use is by using "good sense." The film concludes with a newspaper headline -- "America's Teen Age Dope 'Fad' Ending!" Another unique Sid Davis production.
"This is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Howard. They just got their teenage daughter back after a six-month nightmare that even Edgar Allan Poe couldn't have improved upon." With that we plunge deep into the underside of Los Angeles youth culture in the early fifties. In many of his films, Sid Davis explored the perils awaiting children and adolescents in the great city of Los Angeles, full of "hypes," "peddlers" and "dangerous strangers." This time, with the disapproving figure of Judge William B. McKesson as our guide, we follow Phyllis Howard on her journey to hell and back.
There are ecstatic moments on Phyllis's journey, like her drive up into the mountains when she smokes reefer and "everything speeds up to a hundred miles per hour." There are also hellish moments, like her cold turkey withdrawal behind bars in the county jail. The film mixes documentary realism (shot on the streets of Hollywood and downtown L.A.) with sensational narration. "Some say the Reds are promoting dope traffic in the United States to undermine national morale," says the judge/narrator. "They did it in China a few years back. It's certainly true that the increased use of narcotics plays right into their hands."
Well before most other educational film producers, Davis made films about sensitive subjects like drug abuse and child molestation. This made him a genuine pioneer, as he had to navigate territory without a body of previous work to emulate. It also meant that he had constantly to address issues of disbelief and denial. As Judge McKesson asks at the end of the film, "Well, that's Phyllis's story. In the United States of America, 20th century. Unbelievable, isn't it, that such things can happen?"
From the producer's description:
"All over the United States, committees of parents and educators are meeting to determine what can be done to combat the greatest menace ever to peril the welfare of American youth: Narcotic addiction. All agree that something besides stricter enforcement of the drug laws is needed. That 'something' is Education. Teen-age boys and girls must be educated to the shocking consequences of 'playing around' with narcotics!
"It has been proved over and over again that there is no more effective medium of education than the motion picture. The first step in an educational program to fight drug addiction is an effective educational film.
"The Terrible Truth documents the tragic story of one teen-age girl, typical of youthful addicts. Starting with an occasional marijuana cigarette, she is induced to experiment with a 'fix' of heroin. In a few days, she is [a] hopeless 'hype,' ends up with a criminal record and a blighted future. Local and national government studies are cited to show that almost 100 per cent of youthful addicts eventually turn to crime to get money to satisfy their 'habit.'
"It is the responsibility of every community, large or small, to protect its youth against this tragic, appalling menace. Whether a city or town has already experienced the disaster of teen-age drug usage, or whether it has so far escaped being touched, the problem is the same: To educate boys and girls against narcotic usage before it is too late, before more lives and futures are forfeit. No community is safe, so long as the 'fad' is allowed to exist anywhere."
TEENAGERS DRUG ADICTION NARCOTICS THEFT JUNKIES CRIME JUDGES COURTS MARIJUANA HEROIN ADICTS STATISTICS Juvenile delinquency health and safety
- Closed captioning
- United States
- Run time
Subject: Public Domain?
Subject: Terrible for sure, but not the Truth
This is GREAT! "The U-nited States of Amer-r-r-rica" You have to trill the "r" in "Amerrrica". Why the judge gets all Mediter-r-r-ranian just for that word is never explained. The old-people-head-shaking-in-disgust factor is about a 9 out of 10 in this film.
Highs - Tripped out music, and quotes like...
"I guess I knew about reefer - that's marijuana - ever since junior high. Some of the boys smoked them. The ones who couldn't get along who were afraid of everyone. You know, the ones with no backbone."
"They both smoked pot - that's jive talk for marijuana."
"In the Far East a few years back, they were lining up dope dealers and shooting them in the back of the head. But it didn't stop addiction (headline: Ask Death Penalty for Dope Peddlers)"
"Some say the Reds are promoting dope traffic in the United States to undermine national morale. They did it in China a few years back."
Lows - That anyone ever believed smoking pot would lead directly to doing "H" *sigh*
Subject: Stupid only is as stupid does
Life is a gateway condition, it always leads to death. Everyone who has ever been alive always ends up dying. Let's abolish all human life on this planet and finally stamp out this insidious social disease once and for all.
Seriously though, I have to agree with the reviewer further below. The only thing scarier than these types of social propaganda films is the fact that some people still think this way (although I use the word "think" loosely).
Subject: Funniest line in any of these films
I can't help but think of Barbara Billingsley - "Oh stewardess? I speak jive."
Subject: It's not that funny
Subject: Insanity rules the day
Subject: An OK story, a sad social statement.
Pot should be decriminalized and all other drug possession offenses should be treated by doctors, not arrested by cops. Our prisons would all but empty out and the 98% of the drug trade that threatens the security of our great nation would be gone overnight. Sorry to say that will never happen as long as so much money is involved.
I would have given the film a 4 star rating as an old nostalgia flick. But since some reviewers see fit to review it as a serious documentary I will have to give it a single star rating. I'm just sorry I can't rate it any lower.
Subject: Thank You Mr Mckesson!
Having said that, this film is an absolute technical mess. When Mr. Mckesson comes on and starts narrating, I thought my audio was out of whack, then I thought the film download's audio was out of whack. I am quite certain now it's the film ITSELF doing it. Like it's the most laughable dubbing job EVER. I like how Mckesson barely moves his lips up and down!
Newspapers, as usual, are all the same with different headlines, and check out the newspaper the Junkie's dad is holding, it's curiously full of holes!
Lastly, when Mckesson introduces us to the junkie in question, we then see a shot of the Junkie's mom and her. I thought for a moment the junkie was her mom LOL.
This film is a MUST SEE ON THIS SITE!
Subject: Drugs lead to Bad Hair
High school girl Phyllis falls for slick drug pusher Joe and gets hooked on ÃÂÃÂH.ÃÂÃÂ PhyllisÃÂÃÂs addiction does terrible things to her appearance. Because of heroin, every day is a bad hair day for Phyllis. And she stops tucking in her blouse, too! The film is almost as appalled by the fact that her addiction leads to poor grooming on her part as it is about the drug addiction itself. Eventually, Phyllis gets arrested and dries out. She ends up back with her parents and with a hideous new hairdo.
The film's attempt to show evils of drugs ends up unintentionally glamorizing them. The life that Phyllis leads as an addict wouldnÃÂÃÂt seem so bad to teenagers. She moves away from home, gets her own place, marries a cool-looking guy and even earns her own income (selling drugs). Her arrest is almost an afterthought. And whatÃÂÃÂs her reward for kicking her habit? She ends up back at home with Mom and Dad, with bad hair and dowdy clothes. And she gets lectured to by a pompous judge. Thanks a lot.
Subject: Youthfulness leads to JAIL
Phyllis doesn't want to talk about being an 'H' junkie but does a good job spilling the whole story. 'Hype' Husband Joe tells her, "you should use heroin 'cuz it'll make ME feel better." Fortunately for spineless, hooked Phyllis, the humanitarian police stuff her in a jail cell to rehabilitate for "FIVE DAYS... five days..."
I see 'pot' (that's JIVE TALK for reefer) everywhere I go but I've never even seen a heroin needle: I must not be living in America.
I have to wonder what the hell Helen's parents, the Howards, are like: they look in the newspaper to see where she is. Message to parents: next time, use the internet.
Subject: Why doesnÃÂÃÂt drugs disappear from the face of the earth, like everything else that America doesnÃÂÃÂt like or approve???
But there is other very effective weapon that drugs give to the ÃÂÃÂestablishmentÃÂÃÂ, they make people lazy and easy controlled by the system, this is, in my point of view, the most important function of drugs in the contemporary society, the power to create a lazy, non political active and divided social structure, we should always remember that the drugs boom happened in the middle sixties when Vietnam war was a major concern to world youth . US and other ÃÂÃÂunitedÃÂÃÂ governments saw that giving drugs to youth was a good business and a way of keep them some how ÃÂÃÂdomesticatedÃÂÃÂ and non political or socially active.
The sixties movement, was the last breath of real revolution and non acceptance of the imperialist world, in the xx century, after that nothing...young people prefer playing playstation or shopping to talk about politics or social issues, or they prefer to use drugs and live in a different reality, leaving the world to the sharksÃÂÃÂ
See the example of Iraq, before coalition invasion there was no heroin in Baghdad or elsewhere in Iraq, a year after, there is a substantial number of people addicted. The same occurred in Portugal, months after the April revolution in 1974, Lisbon started to receive huge amounts of heroin, cocaine and marijuana, that resulted in very hi number of young people addicted in a short amount of time. The revolution was made by low patent officers in the Portuguese army and by CIA agents - at that time USA add serious interests that Portugal quitted on all colonies in Africa and India - . The revolution went on and Portugal said goodbye to 47 years of censorship and hello to a new world, that world included a wide range of drugs for a generation that add little or none social options and wasnÃÂÃÂt enough educated to deal with that problem.
A person who was born before the revolution stated that:
ÃÂÃÂThe censorship was bad, but there were no drugs. In our days a lot of families have drug related problems.ÃÂÃÂ
As long as USA rule the world economy there will be always drugs...itÃÂÃÂs sad but itÃÂÃÂs trueÃÂÃÂ
Subject: A Sid Davis classic
The junkie Svengali in a jacket and tie adds a nice William S. Burroughs note to the film, even if the scenes depicting the horrors of heroin withdrawal seem less than convincing.
Subject: franky? i think your on drugs
Subject: Still the Truth Today
Subject: Here's your brain on Sid Davis
Subject: The Judge is still correct
Subject: The Terrible Truth
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****. Also available on Our Secret Century, Vol. 5: Teenage Transgression.